SLEX, Skyway set window hours for trucks going to Manila by Oct. 14

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Starting Monday, heavy trucks heading to Metro Manila can only pass through the South Luzon Expressway within prescribed window hours to decongest traffic.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 10) — Toll authorities will impose window hours on heavy trucks coming from Southern Luzon to Metro Manila starting Monday, October 14, in a bid to ease worsening traffic.

Manuel Bonoan, President of the Skyway Operations and Maintenance Corporation (SOMCO), said Thursday that Manila-bound trucks would be limited to midday trips via the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).

In a tweet, SOMCO announced that trucks can only pass through the SLEX between 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and between 9:30 p.m. to 4 a.m. For the STAR Tollway, trucks may pass from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and between 8 p.m. to 3 a.m.

"Kung kayo ay mga truck galing sa Batangas, papapasukin lang namin ng mga 8:30 in the morning hanggang 3:30 in the afternoon para sa ganoon, hindi na sila makipaghalo sa peak hour period natin dito sa Alabang Viaduct," Bonoan told CNN Philippines' Newsroom Ngayon.

"Nakikita namin kasi na what exacerbates traffic during peak hours is the presence ng maraming heavy vehicles na nakikisabay sa peak hours."

[Translation: For trucks coming from Batangas, we will only let you in the SLEX starting 8:30 in the morning until 3:30 in the afternoon so that they won't reach the peak hour period at the Alabang Viaduct. What we observed is what exacerbates traffic during peak hours is the presence of many heavy vehicles on the road during peak hours.]

He clarified that the rules will not apply to trucks heading out of Manila; nor to those coming from the provinces to Laguna. They will only apply to those who are travelling beyond Laguna and into Metro Manila.

The SLEX and the Skyway have been under fire in recent weeks, due to an even heavier traffic flow entering the metro caused by an ongoing construction of a ramp extension. Just this week, authorities implemented a one-way traffic scheme for the east service road linked to EDSA from Alabang to Sucat Interchange.

Bonoan said this was to give more space for the construction of the at-grade portion of an extended Skyway ramp linking the toll road to Susana Heights in Muntinlupa, which they want completed by end of November.

He added that construction is being fast-tracked to avoid causing further traffic jams in December, which is known for even heavier road congestion during the holidays.

By December or January next year, Bonoan said construction on the southbound side will begin. For now, he appealed for motorists to have extra patience, with the assurance that these construction projects would "definitely mitigate" Manila-bound traffic. The Skyway extension ramp is set to be finished by end-2020.

Meanwhile, Bonoan said proposals to reduce or suspend toll fees due to horrendous traffic — which is said to add at least an hour on travel time — would have to be discussed by private concessionaires with the Toll Regulatory Board.